The (Non) Producers: Obama's Bialystock and Bloom

Last week President Obama began the blitz which, barring Republican collapse (read on) could last for the next two years, pushing his State of the Union call for American taxpayers to hand over even more billions to underwrite a supposed ‘clean energy’ future.

By chance, I read of this between sessions conferring in London and Brussels with leading experts on the disastrous folly of Europe’s experiment with the ‘clean energy economy’. We know that this is the same disaster that President Obama is now doubling down on as an economic recovery plan because he used to admit as much.

But in his new push the president has toned down the European roots of his model, as well as the planetary salvation rationale for energy rationing. This is because, respectively, the success stories all proved to be black holes which European governments are now trying to walk back, and the public turned against the global warming campaign.

So it was with great amusement that I caught, on my flight back this weekend, some art imitating life in a spectacularly appropriate way. Accountant Leo Bloom revealed to producer Max Bialystock, “under the right circumstances, a producer could actually make more money with a flop than he can with a hit”. Voila! There you have, in a Broadway second, President Obama’s ‘clean energy’ agenda.

Government Electric – once a bastion of American genius now fallen to being no more than a government front company – and the rest of the ‘renewables’ Music Men (to note another apt vehicle) are the Bialystock and Bloom of policy. They seek to make their fortune by producing flops. But since their ‘markets’ are arranged by pals in government and not due to performance, it works. That’s the beauty of it.

Which sad reality of wind- and solar-ethanol brings us to that pioneering boondoggle, corn squeezins. As the Wall Street Journal noted in response to a terribly disappointing speech in Iowa by presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich, such “pandering is inevitable in presidential politics, but… [e]ven Al Gore now admits that the only reason he supported ethanol in 2000 was to goose his presidential prospects, and the only difference now between Al and Newt is that Al admits he was wrong.”

Gingrich defends his ethanol pander, which ominously leaves him little excuse not to ultimately push windmills and solar panels, as he surely will within months (which industries are concentrating on creating a large Iowa footprint, by coincidence). His excuse is that he’s just following up on the Republican’s ‘all of the above’ line to promote domestic oil, coal and gas production.

Of course, as I muttered aloud to colleagues at the time this meaningless if dangerous talking point was rolled out, a cynic could easily claim that rent-seeking subsidy queens might well say that that includes them. And now we see also their enablers doing so.

Sarah Palin said in her speech at the Ronald Reagan Ranch Center this week, in a strong recitation of the absurdity of the green energy agenda (making her the only potential 2012 candidate to offer one), that “All of the above means conventional sources of energy the kind, you know, that we actually use, today, reliably, to fuel our economy”. In a rational world, yes. In this world, it meant an opening for the welfare queens to demand more.

‘All of the above’ draws no line at excluding the asinine. That isn’t much of a policy. Like justifying pandering promotion of expensive boondoggles, that so-called standard reveals no standards at all. It is actually a worsening of the current debacle.

So now windmills and solar panels must be mandated to ‘create jobs’. Frederic Bastiat noted in the 19th century that this precise language – “Besides, it is a way of creating jobs for the workers” – is offered to justify every political scheme when the merits don’t persuade. Everything can be said to ‘create jobs’, but at what cost? Just this past Friday night PJ O’Rourke noted, in a dinner speech in Brussels, that everything ‘creates jobs’ including violent crime. But what else happens, as the cost?

Obama’s wind and solar boondoggle so far includes – according to his own Council on Economic Advisors – $90 billion in ‘green energy’ stimulus spending for 190,000 inherently temporary jobs (think: census job, as each lasts only so long as the state support, meaning it is yet another state-created bubble). That is $450,000 per job. The pledge to create’ millions of such jobs at your expense is a vow to seal our bankruptcy.

Renewables are the most expensive way for all of its constantly shifting excuses, including a) to produce energy, b) to create jobs and c) to reduce emissions. And pouring money into centuries old technology as state-picked ‘winners’ delays rather than expedites tech development and advancement.

Such wasteful adventurism is utterly boneheaded; these products are alive solely for political reasons — both totemic and to satisfy big lobbies. Their vendors and cheerleaders premise their movement and their industry on a crusade against waste. And yet nothing is more wasteful than their scheme.

For Republicans to leap on board Obama’s new push for fear of challenging the Big Green Machine, in a cheap ploy of pandering is not merely absurd. It should be viewed as disqualifying.

Any presidential campaign that supports these Bialystocks and Blooms should close before opening night. Sadly, opening night includes the Iowa Caucuses. This, and only this, is why our economy has the cancer of ethanol and, now, with replicate wind and solar programs looming, that threatens to metastasize.


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